Drivers dodge a pothole on Edinburgh streets every 14 metres

A MAJOR new study has revealed Edinburgh as the pothole capital of the UK '“ with drivers dodging the equivalent of one every 14 metres.

Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 10:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 10:02 am
The council has an £8.35m roads repairs underspend
The council has an £8.35m roads repairs underspend

Figures show there were 112,619 potholes reported in the city between January 2015 and April 2018, representing 73 per kilometre.

City council officials questioned the methodology but campaigners said transport chiefs should apologise to road users.

Tory Cllr Scott Douglas said: “It is shameful that a city of Edinburgh’s stature should have roads that are in such a shoddy state, and residents deserve better.

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“Given the danger potholes pose to cyclists and the damage they cause to road vehicles, we need to get a grip of this situation urgently.”

Cllr Douglas accused successive administrations, including the present SNP/Labour coalition, of failing to invest enough in the Capital’s roads, adding: “They should be embarrassed by these statistics, and the transport convener owes an apology to road users throughout the city for the utterly inadequate action they have taken so far.”

Yorkshire-based insurance provider The Insurance Emporium obtained the figures through freedom of information requests of UK authorities, with 175 responding.

Only Devon had more reports of potholes than Edinburgh but the south west of England county has more than eight times as much road to look after.

Pothole expert Professor Nicholas Thom of Nottingham University called for councils to review surfacing materials.

Potholes are caused by water that gets into the road surface and is then squeezed by high tyre pressures, made worse by freezing and thawing, explained Prof Thom.

“Very impermeable surfaces, such as hot rolled asphalt, are extremely pothole resistant but they are more expensive and less nice to drive on,” he added.

The Evening News reported last month how Edinburgh’s road repairs backlog could take two years to clear.

It was revealed that only 36 per cent of scheduled prioritised roads projects are expected to be finished by March. There is also a £8.35 million underspend on the council’s capital roads projects – money which remains untouched.

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Transport Convener, said: “Potholes cause understandable frustration for road users and we’re acutely aware of the need to keep our roads and pavements fit for purpose.

“That’s why we invest many millions of pounds every year to maintain and enhance our citywide network.”

Cllr Macinnes questioned the analysis as figures provided for 2015-2017 were for all defects not just potholes and included multiple reports of individual problems.

She said there were closer to ten potholes per km in 2018 and added: “We are working very hard to improve Edinburgh’s roads and we are confident that our ongoing Roads Improvement Plan will continue to achieve results and drive our performance up further still.”